GREENVILLE — The Greenville Eagles gave away checks totaling over $21,000 to a number of local nonprofit groups Tuesday night, including Greenville Area Senior Citizens, the Boys and Girls Club, the Annie Oakley Festival, Darke County Shriners, the Light Foundation, Friends of Bears Mill, the Special Olympics, and Empowering Darke County Youth.
Funds for the donations were raised by way of the Eagles’ weekly Charity Bingo game. Seventy-five percent of funds go toward maintaining the group’s own budget, while 25 percent go toward supporting various other nonprofits in the region. The Eagles identify organizations in need in a couple of different ways.
“In most cases, either they come in and ask or we know there’s a need by word of mouth,” Treasurer JoEllen Melling said. “We like the idea that we’re helping people who are actually in our community.”
“We want to give back to the community – to support the community that supports us,” Rick Robinson, trustee for the Eagles and First Vice President of the Annie Oakley Festival, agreed.
The Eagles are a fraternal organization requiring membership and monthly dues, but they participate in many events that are open to the public, including concerts and dances for local senior citizens.
“It’s a private club, but we’re very open,” Melling said. “We’re always trying to team up with other organizations in order to make things happen.”
And benefits for members go beyond simply being able to participate in Charity Bingo games, according to Melling.
“The biggest thing is the camaraderie,” Melling said. “If they’re a member, they can take their card and go anywhere. This is their home.”
In addition to her responsibilities with the Eagles, Melling also works with the Boys and Girls Club and is president of the Annie Oakley Festival. Each organization received a check for $2000 Tuesday. As far as how money for the Boys and Girls Club will be used, Melling spoke a bit about the group’s efforts to help local kids.
“We have an awesome cooking program going on up there, and we realized going over our budget recently that it’s our biggest expense,” Melling said. “So most of these funds will probably go toward buying supplies and so on.”
Melling stressed that many area children may not be getting enough to eat at home.
“You wouldn’t believe how many of these kids go home to no food,” Melling said. “That’s why we felt this was a good thing to teach them.”
Barbara Bricker helped establish the Greenville Eagles chapter, and has been a member of Greenville Area Senior Citizens for 21 years. Bricker’s group, which plays uecker at the Eagles lodge the second Thursday of each month, received a check for $3500.
Bricker said the group exists to give the older citizens of Darke County activities to share and friends to spend time with.
“Whenever I see seniors sitting around doing nothing, I invite them to join,” Bricker said.
Bob Robinson, former editor of the Daily Advocate and an instructor at Edison State Community College, accepted a check for $2000 on behalf of Empowering Darke County Youth, a group which provides tutoring services for local elementary school kids.
“On behalf of our board and our kids, I can’t thank the Eagles enough for their generous donation,” Robinson said. “We currently work with 70 students, and the support of our local Eagles will help us continue our work through the school year. It is greatly appreciated!”
Melling said the Eagles’ ability to help these organizations depends on continuing to build their membership.
“We want to welcome everybody,” Melling said. “If you’re interested and want to support the cause of helping the community, come and see us.”
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